Another tax helper by a popular maven, though comparatively scant on where to put down which numbers. This time, there's more on how to manage your calendar to meet tax dates and how to manage your mind to meet the tax auditor than there is on just what the tax law really says. The tax law, of course, is becoming more complex each year and the best tax pros are now whimpering that even they can't keep up. It seems that expert Strassels has opted to sidestep the shifting, tougher questions with old lawyer's gambit of weasel-wording. His text is sprinkled with not entirely helpful locutions like ""possibly,"" ""frequently,"" ""generally"" and ""in most cases."" It's easy to write and to read that way, but harder to plan tax strategy with assurance. Strassels takes an avuncular tone, offering more general and reassuring advice on most tax matters. Incorporate for fringe benefits, write off vacations and home entertainment, turn personal expenses into tax deductions. There isn't much on the ever-threatening alternative minimum tax and even less on the sometimes useful income-averaging provision, but there is plenty of hand-holding in case the mail brings the dreaded audit notice. It's all quite seductively packaged into 57 chapters, which is not as much reading as you might think. One chapter is a list of IRS offices, another is just seven lines long and most are no more than a few pages. The text is filled out with lots of charts, tables and forms, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Comprehensive and balanced, no; quick and easy, maybe. This civilian's guide to tax management won't replace anybody's tax advisor, but it will probably provide a bit of aid and comfort to the tax afflicted.